Automation is playing an increasingly larger part in the design and production of packaging machines. Innovation is no longer just a responsibility of the mechanical engineers, creativity is now also a key part of software engineering. Besides supplying high quality machines, we are being increasingly pressed to make machine data available. As a future-oriented machine builder we accordingly make a contribution to the Factory of the Future.
Making data available to the customer is often desirable to:
- Be able to control printers and other electronic equipment using the enterprise software.
- Provide the operator with clear, sometimes graphical, real-time information on the performance of the machine.
- Be able to carry out subsequent analyses for process optimisation.
The first point is more or less standard. The second point helps to improve service and maintenance, certainly if we can install and configure a link to an eWON industrial router so our service team can look at and potentially rectify faults remotely.
With third point the challenge consists of making a link between the machine and a higher ERP system (enterprise resource planning) such as SAP. That means two-way traffic between the order processing department at the customer and the Arodo packaging machine. Then the operator starting the order on the machine does not have to enter any more data. After production/processing on the packaging machine, the Arodo installation sends all relevant data back to the ERP system. These data can differ by customer and are programmed according to requirements by our software engineers.
Examples of incoming data:
- Arodo formulation = the program number with machine settings
- Weight to be filled
- From which silo
- Bagging weight
Examples of outgoing data
- Filled weight
- Units on pallet
- Machine status
Automation of packaging lines
Linking production lines to ERP packages, we do it more and more often. With each link being unique, our software engineers have gained a deep understanding of this form of automation from courses and practical experience on the ground. They know the pitfalls.
The pioneering role we play in this field is demonstrated by our work for Nuscience, who specialises in premixes, concentrates, nutritional concepts and feed additives in the animal feed industry. Their packaging lines were supplied by Arodo and linked to the company-specific ERP.
In 2017 Nuscience was crowned ‘Factory of the Future’. This award puts the spotlight on manufacturers who rise to the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution – digitalisation - in a future-oriented and systematic way. It is the first company able to guarantee that no faults will occur during the microdosing process as a result of fully automated processes and double controls. We are grateful for and proud of our contribution!